The National Assembly may override President Muhammadu Buhari on the International Maritime Fund Bill in the interest of the nation, the House Committee on the Nigerian Navy (NN) has said.
Chairman of the committee Abdussamad Dasuki stated this during their visit to the Western Naval Command (WNC) Apapa. Dasuki, who led a 20-man delegation to the WNC headquarters, noted the need for the NN to acquire more platforms to perform its constitutional duties.
He said the president failed to assent to the bill that would have helped the navy acquire the needed platforms to secure the nation’s territorial domain. Dasuki said the committee was aware the NN was constrained by paucity of funds, adding that they were working to appropriate more funds to the service.
He said: “We are working with the International Maritime Fund and to that effect, we have presented a bill which the president did not assent to, but we are considering overriding the president on that bill because of national interest.
“This oversight function started last week at the Naval Headquarters, Abuja where we looked at the books with regards to the 2018 appropriation. We have seen most of the projects, we are here at the Western Naval Command, Lagos, to see on ground what we saw on paper.
“We have seen a couple of projects- construction at the new stadium at Navy Town and accommodation for officers. We were also on board the new ships acquired by the NN.” Continuing, Dasuki said: “I think the releases from the Ministry of Finance have been very poor. From what we have seen, the release from the ministry is not encouraging.
“Probably, we have to tell our colleagues in the house to make sure that the Armed Forces in particular get more financial support to ensure that they can carry out their responsibilities and complete most of the ongoing projects. We are quite impressed with what we have seen on ground. So far, the NN are working based on the releases made available to them.”
He commended the navy for being professional, stating that the House received the least petition against the service. “In the House of Representatives, the Nigerian Navy has the least petition among the military and paramilitary agencies and I think this is due to professionalism in the service. I want to use this opportunity to commend the ratings and officers for their civil-military relationships.
“We appreciate that and we want the Chief of the Naval Staff and his men to sustain the high tempo of relationships. We are proud of you in terms of that. Keep it up. I also commend you for the protection of the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) and other critical infrastructures like the pipelines. It is because of your professionalism that the militants have been pushed away and you no longer hear of pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta area,” he said.
Earlier, Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), WNC Rear Admiral Obed Ngalabak said there was no doubt that the navy deserved adequate funding to carry out its functions and responsibilities.
“It is obvious we need more funding considering the standpoint of the Committee Chairman, Hon. Abdulsamad Dasuki on the Navy. I am happy he has promised to talk to the relevant people to get more funding for us.”